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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Dyce the new Braveheart
By Alistair Magowan

Great Britain's return to Scotland in the Davis Cup was supposed to be the chance for Scottish fans to roar their own Braveheart on to victory.

But while Greg Rusedski produced a sterling effort, illness and injury sapped Andy Murray's chances of producing a talismanic display.

The result left GB captain Jeremy Bates admitting they need "new players to take the pressure off Greg".

But in the long-term, it is Murray who will shoulder that burden.

GRAEME DYCE FACTS
Graeme Dyce
Born: 24 July 1989, Edinburgh
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
Current ITF ranking: 138
Titles: 2005 St.Maarten Juniors Open, 2004 British U15
Nickname: Wallace, as in William Wallace, the Scottish national hero played by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart

Fortunately another teenage Scot sees the opportunity to join Murray in the world's top 100 as a "motivation".

Although Graeme Dyce describes himself as a different player to his compatriot, the pair already have much in common.

Like Murray, 16-year-old Dyce has been cutting his teeth overseas.

He arrived at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in November but has already been offered a scholarship for next year.

Known around the Academy as 'Wallace', thanks to his shock of ginger hair, Dyce has taken to the strict training regime leading Bollettieri to describe him as a "street fighter".

He's already cracked the top 100 in the world junior rankings but it is Murray's rise over the past year that has given him further belief.

"To see someone I've known since I was quite young come through (into the top 100) gives inspiration to players like me," Dyce told BBC Sport.

"It gives us the belief that if he can do it then we can do it as well. If I can get anywhere near to what he's done I'll be happy.

"Certainly Andy can't do it by himself for the next 10 years so (the GB team) are looking for someone to come through and do well.

"I'd love to step up and play alongside Andy and be a big thing in British tennis, that does inspire me.

"To have that sort of support at places like Wimbledon would be unbelievable. It's definitely a motivation to do it."

Dyce started playing tennis when he was seven but didn't really take to it until he was 11 when a certain Judy Murray, Andy's mother, took him under his wing.

She still looks after his schedule and has been out to check up on her protege at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida.

Greg Rusedski and Andy Murray
With Rusedski waning, who will join Murray at the top of GB tennis?

Dyce says: "It's good because what with Andy succeeding, Judy knows what it takes.

"Technically she's unbelievable. She definitely knows what she's doing."

Coaching, however, can take you only so far. Dyce like Andy Murray found that the more he improved, the less he came up against suitable competition.

With Murray and Jamie Baker in Spain and Alan Mackin heading to England, it was time for Dyce to test himself elsewhere. And he is beginning to reap the benefits of his American education.

"There's been a big improvement in my game since I've been at the Academy," he explains.

"I was at school full-time in Scotland and I was playing a lot of tennis but not nearly as much as I'm playing in Florida.

"It's all-American so the coaches are always upbeat, they've got music pumping out - it's my kind of place.

"I thrive in that kind of environment rather than over here where it's a bit more subdued."

Thanks to a punishing fitness schedule, Dyce says he is now "extremely fit" although it took time to get used to the muscle soreness.

BOLLETTIERI GRADUATES
Tommy Haas
Andre Agassi
Jim Courier
Monica Seles
Anna Kournikova
Tommy Haas
Maria Sharapova

But between sessions he often watches players like Maria Sharapova or Tommy Haas on the practice courts, just to see how hard they work.

Indeed it is Haas' former coach, David 'Red' Ayme, who is now teaching Dyce.

He says: "If we're not working hard enough, Red will tell us. If it's not good enough he'll tell us - which is great.

"It's tough at the time because he's screaming and shouting at you but having someone who knows what you need to get there is great. I don't mind that approach."

And what of the legendary figure Bollettieri, now 74. Does he ever pitch in?

"He gets on court with us occasionally and gives us tips, shouts at us a bit and motivates us," he says, "It's good though.

"Even if he just stands there (at the side of the court) players will up their games. It's Nick Bollettieri!

"Everything about him makes you want to work harder."

Unafraid of hard graft and willing to put his body through the mill, Dyce may yet prove to be the new Braveheart Murray needs alongside him.



SEE ALSO
Britain 'must find new players'
09 Apr 06 |  Tennis
Academy where stars are born
12 Sep 05 |  Get Involved


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